Our renowned SPIVA research measures actively managed funds against their index benchmarks worldwide. As we celebrate 20 years of the SPIVA Scorecard, discover key insights across regions and fund categories.
Find out what SPIVA can tell you about the performance of active funds versus the performance of their benchmarks.
The premise of active management is essentially that with enough skill, it’s easy to consistently outperform the market, or the benchmark. When this view was challenged decades ago, it sparked a longstanding debate with strong believers on both sides, and some in between.
The impact of the debate is far-reaching. It informs decisions about whether to use an active manager or invest in an index-based fund such as an ETF. It challenges the notion that alpha is what all investors should strive for. It has also created a need to gauge the suitability of both approaches across a range of time periods and asset classes.
The SPIVA Scorecard is a robust, widely-referenced research piece conducted and published by S&P DJI that compares actively managed funds against their appropriate benchmarks on a semiannual basis. We offer scorecards reporting on actively managed funds in the following countries and regions: Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East, South Africa, and the United States.
While no two SPIVA Scorecards are exactly the same, certain themes have emerged over time. One is that actively managed funds have historically tended to underperform their benchmarks over short- and long-term periods. This has tended to hold true (with exceptions) across countries and regions. Another recurring theme is that even when a majority of actively managed funds in a category have outperformed the benchmark over one time period, they have usually failed to outperform over multiple periods.
SPIVA research tells us that relatively few active managers are able to outperform passive managers over any given time period, either short-term or long-term. But the true measure of successful active management is whether a manager or strategy can deliver above-average returns consistently over multiple periods. Demonstrating the ability to outperform repeatedly is the only proven way to differentiate a manager's skill from luck. Through research published in our Persistence Scorecards, we show that relatively few funds can consistently stay at the top.
Funds remaining after one year
Funds remaining after two years
Funds remaining after three years
Funds remaining after four years
Funds at start: 1121
Data represent U.S. domestic funds staying in the top half by performance since December 2015.
The SPIVA approach
The SPIVA Scorecard’s widely cited headline numbers are backed by a rich data set that addresses issues related to measurement techniques, universe composition, and fund survivorship. These data sets are rooted in the following fundamental principles of the SPIVA Scorecard: